The Gigantic Autism Billboard: Autism Wisdom in a Few Words

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 13th, 2021

What if you had to distill a lifetime of lived experience with autism into a single pearl of wisdom?

Imagine you could have a gigantic billboard upon which you could share this — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions – what would it say and why?

In celebration of World Autism Day, we posed this very question to the autism community; we asked people on the autism spectrum, their parents, professionals, and autism bloggers and influencers. Given just one sentence or paragraph, this is what they chose to share with the world.

Girl on dads shoulders
Photo by @dpopbes

Pearls of autism wisdom

A powerful and diverse set of voices responded. They directed their messages at (A) school kids about to have a new classmate with autism, (B) new parents to a child with autism, (C) educators about to teach a child with autism for the first time, or simply (d) everyone in the world!

Here are the words they chose to go on their metaphorical ‘Gigantic Autism Billboard’…

Autism quote: "People who have autism have discovered experiences more interesting and enjoyable than socializing.”
  • “Sometimes we forget that it’s okay to move at our own pace or we expect others to succeed or develop at a pace that is not theirs, but ours. Be open to people who require a little bit more patience, understanding & acceptance.”
    Chevone Peterson @
    Blogger | Influencer | Mom | On autistic spectrum
  • “Autism is a different way of perceiving, thinking, learning and relating.”
    Dr Tony @
    Clinician | Author | International Speaker
  • “With Autism, Never Say Never.”
    That’s because over the years I have seen my (now thirty year old) autistic son Nat do things I never dreamed he’d do when he was little. We just have to keep coming back to things and see if he’s evolved or grown enough to try it again! Countless things like sports, imaginative play (just yesterday) swimming in the ocean, answering questions, living somewhere without us, working, going out for a walk peacefully… and on and on. Atypical development means it could happen at ANY time.)
    Susan Senator @
    Blogger | Influencer | Parent to child on autistic spectrum
Autism quote: "Autism is my superpower."
  • “Autism impacts an entire family, including brothers and sisters. Siblings experience the ups, downs, and everything-in-betweens of having a loved one on the spectrum. On World Autism Day – and every day – please recognize that siblings are special, too.”
    Emily Holl @
    Director, Sibling Support Project
  • “My autism is my superpower because it helps save and change the lives of others.”
    Sarah Michelle Ramos @
    26 year old female activist | Early childhood educator with autism
  • “You are not alone!”
    Joel @
  • “Autistic kids want to feel loved and accepted in the same ways that other kids do. Ask questions, listen to the answers and make the changes that are possible. Sometimes we need to feel uncomfortable, to make others feel comfortable. It’s hard but definitely worth it.”
    Lindsey Malc @
    BCBA | Blogger | Advocate
  • “Autism is a marathon and not a sprint. When your kid is first diagnosed you’re going to get inundated with advice from everywhere but you can’t try everything all at once. Just choose one path and stick with it and don’t look back.”
    Frank Campagna @
    Blogger | Speaker | Parent to child on autistic spectrum
Autism Quote 6: Diversity is the essence of brilliance."

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  • “Those who cannot or will not speak, more often than not hear and understand. To mistake a lack of conventional communication with a lack of self or a lack of intelligence is a grave error. Presume competence, always.”
    Danielle @
    Blogger | Speaker | Parent to child on autistic spectrum
  • “Your real goal should be for your child to learn, grow, and feel safe in an environment that allows him to explore his expanding world. Period. The school’s job is to help make that happen. Ask for whatever your child needs to have a positive and successful middle school experience.”
    Leigh @
    Blogger | Influencer | Parent to child on autistic spectrum
Autism quote 3: Reads, "Presume competence, always."
  • “As a High Functioning individual, I’ve noticed that there are a few things that help me when I am depressed. The first is just listening to me and letting me vent. Sometimes when I vent, I have so many thoughts in my head that once I start to “release” them, they won’t stop flowing out of me until I’ve said everything that I need to say. Even if I don’t make complete sense, just being able to be a listening ear really makes a difference. Another thing that really helps me is just being patient and staying in touch. It may sound simple enough, but it takes a lot to do so.”
    Ethan Hirschberg @
    Autism Blogger
  • “Autism means I miss what others catch, and I catch what others miss.”
    Alicia @
    Blogger | Writer | Motivational speaker | Mother to three autistic children while being on the autism spectrum herself
Autism quote 4: "Some people with autism may not be able to speak or answer to their name, but they can still hear your words and feel your kindness."
  • “Diversity is the essence of brilliance and when we stifle it in a neurotypical mould, it is the world’s loss. We need to adapt and create new, more appropriate and innovative ways to support this way of being.”
    Holly Bridges
    Neurodivergent Author | Teacher | Therapist | ASD Specialist

  • “Parents, you do not have to do this alone! Many have gone before you and have developed some amazing strategies.”
    Angela Nelson @
    CEO and President, Stages Learning Materials
  • “See the able, not the label.”
    Here at Ability Today we focus on what we can do not what we can’t.
    Grant Logan, Founder
    Influencer | Advocate | Speaker
Autism quote: "Be your child's best advocate"

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  • “Care for your child AND for you. There is so much to learn, so many appointments, specialists, therapies and IEP meetings. Don’t forget when you are busy taking care of everything and everyone, to include yourself on the list.”
    Kate @
    Blogger | Influencer | Parent to child on autistic spectrum
  • “You are not alone! We are not alone. When you feel hopeless, when you’re struggling to keep going, remember that you’re not alone. When you feel like nobody notices you unless your child is screaming, when you’re wondering how you’re going to do it any longer, I want you to remember that you’re doing an amazing job. I know you love your child—you’re doing the best you can. When you feel like nobody understands what you’re going through, remember that I do and there are a lot of us out here.”
    Eileen Lamb @
    Author | Photographer | Parent to child on autistic spectrum
Autism quote "Autism siblings are special too."
  • “To the mummy whose child just got a diagnosis. I know this is scary, oh so scary. I know you wonder if you are up to finding out all you need to know, to learning all there is to learn, to parenting in a different kind of way. You are. You have got this. You will find a strength you never knew existed, you will be the best mummy your child could dream of. Love will make it happen.”
    Victoria @
    Autism Specialist Teacher | Blogger
  • “Focus on the abilities and not the disability. What are your child’s strengths, where do they excel? Children with autism excel in many different areas that range all over the map. Sometimes it is the child’s special interests that will help you discover their talents. What motivates them? Many children with autism grow up to make significant contributions in fields such as information technology, engineering, and the arts. ”
    Cindy Bowers @
    COO, Stages Learning Materials
Autism quote: “See the able not the label.”
  • “We understand this April will look different than all of us planned, but it does not change the challenges autism presents or the support families need. We ask you, challenge you, and inspire you to dig deep and persevere to support these wonderful families this April and beyond.”
    Autism New Jersey @
  • “To say my nearly 17 year old son Max blows my mind on a daily basis would be an understatement. Try not to put any limits on what you think your kids can do. You may have to go back and try things again at a later time but keep trying and gently pushing them to step out of their comfort zone. Their time frames for achievements might be different compared with their siblings and neurotypical peers but keep persevering and celebrating them! Work hard on their life skills and be their very BEST advocate. If and as soon as they are able, have them start advocating for themselves. Find your people and build a community to support your whole family on your journey, you’ve got this!”
    Nicole Chalmers @
    Founder | Influencer | Advocate
Autism quote: "“You can be sad about your child's diagnosis and still love them with every fiber of your being.”"
  • “If you are at the beginning of your autism journey the best advice I can give is to be your child’s best advocate. You as the parent know your child better than any expert ever will. And have hope.”
    Jessica Watson @
    Blogger | Influencer | Parent to child on autistic spectrum
  • “The saying goes: “If you have seen one child with autism you have seen one child with autism.” Each child is unique. And as parents we get to learn about our child’s strengths and weaknesses. Bring these to the table when working with teachers, doctors, therapists and other specialists.”
    Leslie Stebbins @
    Project Manager, Stages Learning Materials
  • “You don’t have to read every book on autism! There are a lot of great books on autism but you don’t have to read them all in that week or that month or that year. Take your time. It’s not a race.”
    Lisa @
    Blogger | Influencer | Parent to child on autistic spectrum
Autism quote 10: "Parents, you do not have to do this alone!"

Show your love!

  • “Teachers – never underestimate your students no matter how disabled they may appear or what difficulties they face. Parents – believe in your children and encourage them to fulfill their dreams. Students – Give yourself the power to hear the voice inside telling you that you can create the life you dream of. Believe in yourself, and never allow anyone to discourage you.”
    Jeremy Sicile-Kira  @
    Advocate | Artist | Author
  • “When you can’t look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark.” – a quote from Alice in Wonderland
    Kate @
    Blogger | Influencer | Parent to child on autistic spectrum
  • “If you are accepting of the belief that life can be good even with autism, then they will think so, too. You are the most important person in your child’s life, and you can make them believe that anything is possible.”
    Chantal Sicile-Kira  @
    Author | Speaker | Consultant
Autism Quote: "We're all in this together!"
  • “There are choices. And there are choices grounded in science. Let science light your path and may objectivity guide your decision making.”
    David Celiberti, PhD, BCBA-D  @
    Association for Science in Autism Treatment
  • “We’re all in this together!”
    (I say this because our non-profit was founded by parents and others that care about the cause and because we care about each other and we are family!)
    Dawn Itzkowitz @
    Board Member, Arkansas Autism Foundation
  • “Being in the life of a person with autism is about not trying to change who they are or feel sorry for the wonderful way they were created, but to help and support their hopes and their dreams… to cherish their personality… to encourage their independence in all things…to speak up for them if they can’t speak for themselves… and to celebrate their life along the way.”
    Rebecca Womack @
    Advocate | Executive Director, Behaviour Analysis Advocacy Network
Family in park in celebration of world autism day
Photo by @dpopbes

What would you write on your gigantic autism billboard?

If you could share one message about autism with the world, what would it be, and why? Add your voice in the comments below!

World Autism Day logoWorld Autism Day

This is WeTheParents’ contribution to World Autism Day. Parenthood is an intricate and vibrantly colored tapestry woven with joy and pain, triumph and struggle. We know that parenting a child on the autism spectrum brings with it a host of new rewards and challenges. Our hope is that the warm and wise messages shared here by parents, experts, and those on the autistic spectrum will encourage and support families around the world and also that they may help to bring some autism awareness to those without lived experience.

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 13th, 2021

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